It is no secret that inflation is affecting all Americans. A trip to the gas station or the grocery store reminds us that rising prices are a matter of daily life. This past summer, the U.S. inflation rate hit a 40-year high, and right now there is no end in sight.
Inflation is important news for seniors because it is a special threat to many of us. We do not have the ability to increase our incomes or to cut critical expenses. Dining out or weekend vacations can be cut from young persons’ budgets without serious effects, but the rising medical care and drug costs that affect seniors are not optional.
The Social Security Administration recently announced that the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits for the coming year will be 8.7%. This sounds generous, and it is the largest in four decades, but this summer’s government statistics had inflation running at 9.1%. That means a decline in living standards for anyone who depends on Social Security income.
Seniors who have investment portfolios have likely seen the value of those assets decline as the inflation rate grows. Those people become more cautious about funding expenses from past investment gains. Senior living in Florida is great, but it also brings some added exposure to inflation. The cost of living in Florida has been moderate in the past, but Florida’s rent and housing costs are now rising faster than the national average. Home insurance rates are becoming prohibitive (see Florida’s Home Insurance Crisis).
OurSeniors.Net strives to be your first choice in magazines for seniors, so let us give some practical advice. Many seniors are having difficulty making ends meet, but they don’t realize help is available, and some notable programs that offer financial assistance are underused. Here are some examples of help that may be available-
- You may be eligible for a Medicare Savings Program, which helps pay for Medicare premiums and cost sharing programs for drug expenses.
- A Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy program may help cover plan premiums and lower the cost of prescription drugs.
- The AARP reports that almost 14 million seniors qualify for aid from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program but have not signed up. You can find information about Florida’s SNAP Program by clicking the link.
- The National Council on Aging operates a service they call “BenefitsCheckUp. This is a comprehensive tool connecting seniors and people with disabilities to benefits. Using this tool, it is easy to see if you are eligible for different types of assistance. The site then helps you find out where to apply online or how to get help from a benefits counselor. If you would rather use the phone, call 800-794-6559.
- Check out property tax relief programs for seniors in your area as part of a broader “benefits checkup” process. A good place to start is the Florida Department of Revenue Tax Exemption website.
- Most Florida communities have an Area Agency on Aging organization devoted to aiding seniors. To get contact information for your local Area Agency on Aging, use the Eldercare Locator,, a service of the federal Administration on Aging, or call 800-677-1116.
- The Florida Department of Elder Affairs is a gold mine of help for seniors. There are many links to senior programs like the SHINE (Serving the Health Needs of Elders) program.
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